Jonathan Taylor's Kryptonite Turns Out to Be a Poisonous Nut in Ohio

By Johnny Ginter on October 26, 2019 at 4:25 pm
Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor gets tackled
© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In 35 collegiate games, Jonathan Taylor has run for over 100 yards 29 times and for well over 5000 total yards rushing. That puts him 5th all-time in the Big Ten, and he could easily end up second before the end of the season. He is the quintessential Wisconsin running back, carrying his offense while a caretaker quarterback generally just hands off to him and thanks the ghost of Ron Dayne that he has a tailback to make him look a whole hell of a lot better than he actually is.

This system has been Wisconsin's M.O. since the beginning of time, and as far as the Badgers are concerned since the Barry Alvarez days, it's been pretty successful.

Unless you're Taylor and you're playing Ohio State.

Taylor's worst game of his career in terms of yards was against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game in 2017. In that 21-27 loss, Taylor ran for just 41 yards on 15 carries and 2.7 yards per carry, and his inability to get anything going on the ground very well may have been the deciding factor in that game.

What's really wild is that he's the third premiere Wisconsin running back in a row to not be able to find any success against Ohio State; neither Melvin Gordon or James White ever averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry against the Buckeyes during their entire careers. Montee freaking Ball was the last major Wisconsin running back to do it almost a decade ago, and both times that he was able to pull off the feat the Badgers lost.

One small consolation for Taylor is that after this, probably his worst game since that fateful night in Indianapolis, he doesn't have to wonder "what if?" It's unlikely that his 52 yards on 20 carries (for just 2.6 ypc) were the deciding factor in a game that Ohio State literally ran away with, but it'll be frustrating for him if once again, the team in Columbus stood in his way of a Big Ten championship.

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